|Lesson Plan for Implementing Toontastic into the Classroom
Objective: Students will summarize and retell a literary selection using the app Tootastic.
Time Needed: At least two regular class periods or one 90-minute block.
Students will have previously learned about the parts of a story and plot structure (exposition, rising action, climax, resolution).
Also during previous lessons, students should have finished reading a literary selection from the pacing guide.
Tell students that they will be working in groups to retell the events of a story they just read. In the retelling process, they will create a cartoon adaptation of the story using an iPad app called Toontastic. Build excitement and create buy-in by showings an anchor video for a story that students have previously read, but are not currently working on for this project. (This will require some preparation on your part.)
Inform students that they must carefully select only the most pivotal scenes from the story to recreate for their retelling, as their project will be limited to only six frames. Review the plot diagram and have students work in teams to brainstorm the most important events of the story. Sketching a quick plotline is ideal. For this step, students could use an app such as ZigZag Board or Screen Chomp.
After students have a workable understanding of the scenes they will recreate, have students work together to write the retelling on paper first. To do this, use a simple Flow Map. Rotate around the room and monitor for quality control.
Once the first group of students is ready to move on, stop the class and give a five minutes or less tutorial on how to use the app. (Or, play our Vimeo tutorial video.) This will allow the first group to continue working and will likely inspire the rest of the groups to pick up the pace so they can get to the technology component.
Open the app and tap “Create Cartoon.” Then tap “New Cartoon” on the screen that appears.
Have students listen carefully to the app narrator who explains the concept of the “Story Arc.”
Click the + (plus) sign in the bottom left-hand corner to add a 6th story frame. Each cartoon is limited to six frames. Students can choose where to add the frame. Most often, the frame that they need to add will be another climax frame, to further explain the high point of the story.
Tell students to begin creating at the exposition, which in this app is referred to as the “Setup” frame. Tap the “Setup” icon then tap the green paintbrush that appears.
Have students choose a setting background. They can either choose form a pre-existing setting or draw their own.
After choosing the setting, tap the forward arrow in the top right-hand corner to continue. Have students select or draw characters for their scene, then tap the forward arrow again.
Have students lay the iPad flat on a desk so that many hands can reach it at once. Tap “Start Animation” and have students retell the scene using narration and dialogue. The app will give a 3 second countdown to the start of recording. Tap, hold, and drag to move characters around the screen as the app records. Students must tap “Stop Animation” when finished with the scene, which will instantly begin replay.
If students need to rerecord their scene, they simply repeat the recording process. If they are satisfied with the result, they can press the forward arrow to move on to music selection.
Tap to choose an emotion, then move the scene up and down on the screen to hear the variety of music within that mood. Choose the most suitable music for your retelling.
Repeat these steps for each scene in the story arc.
To summarize the lesson, have connect one or two of students iPads to the LCD projector and share out their finished work. Additionally, students may upload their videos to ToonTube. You could event have students create a particular naming pattern for their files so that each group can search for and view one another’s videos using the “ToonTube” option on the home screen of the app.
Have students write their own stories with a focus of your choice. Then, allow students to use Toontastic to animate and record their end product. This can serve as an assessment of literary skills, such as plot development, characterization, the effect of setting on plot, etc. This works on a group or individual basis.